We sat down with Peter Kirkwood, Fishers resident and Indiana State Representative for Sister Cities International, to talk about our sister city to the east, Billericay, England. Peter is the appointed liaison for all of Indiana’s sister cities and works in the diplomacy exchange to the national organization. Our 23-year long relationship with Billericay brings enriched meaning to Billericay Park’s bright red phone booth.
We compiled five things you should know about our sister city across the pond:
1. Where is Billericay, England, anyway?
Billericay is in Essex, England, which is a commuter town just 25 miles outside of London. It has a population of 34,274.
2. Billericay has been our sister city for over 20 years.
The timeline began in 1996, when the then town of Fishers began its search for a sister city. Fast forward to September 1998, and that’s when the efforts to pair Billericay, England and Fishers began. Since then, they have been sister cities or as the English say, “twins.”
3. Billericay has been around since the 13th century
Burial mounds have been found in the area dating back the iron and broze eras, around the 1290’s. There’s also been evidence of Roman remains found in the area. It was originally called “Byllyrica.”
4. Billericay is honored at one of Fishers’ most popular parks.
You can find the namesake of our sister city at Billericay Park, the 44-acre park in east Fishers. As you enter the park, you can’t miss the iconic, bright red phone booth. Which in general is a symbol of the United Kingdom, but as Peter explains, also symbolizes the connection and communication over the long distances between our cities. “Maintaining these connections allows community members here in Fishers to visit Billericay and be able to really experience how interconnected we always are,” he said.
5. You can get connected to our sister city
Peter explains that there are several ways to get involved. “The Sister Cities program has had great success over the years with teacher and student exchanges.” You can learn more about how to get involved at sistercities.org/get-involved.
Laura Masoni is the Public Relations Intern for the City of Fishers. She moved to Fishers from Greenwood in 2010. Her favorite activities include traveling, rowing at Eagle Creek, and going to concerts in Downtown Indy. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her friends and listen to podcasts & music.